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Joe Biden 16, Us 13, Bill Clinton 7, Clinton 6, Obama 5, America 5, James Lipton 4, John Heilemann 4, Biden 4, Charlotte 4, Jennifer Granholm 4, Barack Obama 3, Pennsylvania 3, Michigan 3, John 3, Heather 3, Portsmouth 3, Michelle Obama 3, Dnc 3, The Home Depot 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    September 7, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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ay! what's in your wallet? last night's balloon drop was replaced with confetti cannons which this morning were followed by lackluster jobs numbers. what did it do to the bump? do bumps even exist anymore? if so, how long do they last? it's friday, september 7th and this is "now." joining me today, host of studio 360 and author of "true believers" kurt andersen and vice president of demos, heather mcghee. the friday surprise. for years ago, the morning after president obama's dnc speech in denver, the mccain campaign aimed to step on the coverage by announcing a little-known governor from alaska as his running mate. this morning, the distraction
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from the president's pitch for re-election comes from the labor department, which reported the economy added less than 100,000 jobs in august. the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1%, but mostly because workers gave up looking for jobs. president obama will respond to that report later in this half hour. but last night, he updated his signature brand of hope and change by giving credit to the voters who sent him to office, asking them to enlist once again. >> my fellow citizens, you were the change. you're the reason there's a little girl with a heart disorder in phoenix who will get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can't limit her coverage. you did that. why selfless soldiers won't be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love. if you turn away now, if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for is impossible, well, change will not happen.
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>> the president defined this election as a fundamental choice between two visions for the country, but while he put america's future in the hands of the voters, he affirmed himself as a reliable steward. when it came to his opponents he did not pull any punches. >> in a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. my opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy. you might not be ready for diplomacy with beijing if you can't visit the olympics without insulting our closest ally. >> shedding the soaring rhetoric that has defined his past two convention addresses, president obama delivered a speech full of hard truths about the road ahead, but he ceded no ground in his belief that america could and would see better days ahead. >> know this, america. our problems can be solved. our challenges can be met. the path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place and i'm asking you to choose that future.
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>> joining us now from charlotte, north carolina, is the man who helped bring the word game change into common parlance, msnbc political analyst and national affairs editor for "new york" magazine, john heilemann. and from washington, cnbc's eamon javers. john, i want to go to you first. you were in charlotte, i was there yesterday. there was a lot of expectation of course on the president's shoulders as far as what he could and would deliver. the word i think that has been most touted in the hours since he's delivered his speech is workmanlike in terms of the characterization of his speech. i thought it was very effective insofar as he seemed like he was speaking to that middle, those independent voters who haven't been following this campaign very closely and he really needed to have an elegant argument made as to why they should re-elect him. what was your assessment? >> i guess, alex, i'm sort of in the workman wilike category. one of the kind of cliches in the immediate aftermath, some of
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the reporters and cynics in our business have been harsher on the speech than i would be, but the notion that it sounded at least in the first two thirds of it kind of like a state of the union, and kind of familiar in that way, like it sounded like a lot of barack obama's states of the union, it was not -- it was light on specifics. there were a lot of kind of gauzy, when he's talking about his agenda for the future, i think people had the expectation he would be more specific or more bold or more surprising with something new on the agenda going forward. instead we heard a lot of things we've heard in states of the union and previous speeches he's given in the past. he ramped it up at the end for sure and tried to find his way back to 2008, kind of like pinged back to history, the bite you played about "you are the change" is kind of an updated version of we are the ones you have been waiting for. i think the hall loved it. i think it was certainly aimed and like every speech president obama gives, it had been focus group and polled to death so it was aimed at the voters you're talking about.
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i'm not sure exactly how much it will get him. the filter determines a lot of how people see these speeches and the speech has been chopped up and commented on a lot. it was a very solid speech but it really kind of suffers, i'm afraid, it suffers by comparison both to bill clinton's speech and michelle obama's speech but also to the two speeches we remember most from the past two conventions where barack obama did world historical barn burners in 2008 and 2004. >> world historical barn burners. eamon, i want to ask you, we talked a lot about we are talking about bumps and sort of the net-net for the president and the democrats coming out of the dnc. the jobs numbers that we got this morning are not great ones. the fact that the unemployment rate has ticked down is of course good but there are mitigating factors there. tell us what you think the effect is on the labor scene as it affects the president going into the final stretch before november. >> well, no doubt about it, this was a lousy jobs number. i'm kind of a silver lining kind of guy and i always look for the
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silver linings. i can't really find one here. 96,000 new jobs created might sound like a lot, but that's below expectations of about 125,000, and remember, you need to add about 100,000 to 120,000 just to tread water to keep up with population growth. so we're not even doing that with this number here. so it's a lot of bad news for the president and it makes me wonder a little bit, i know we obsess about this jobs number more than the average person, but it makes me wonder whether this number got into president obama's head a little bit last night. he knew this number was going to be coming out as he took the stage last night to deliver that speech, and it almost makes me wonder whether that's sort of one of the reasons why that speech lacked some of the sparkle that we've seen in obama's speeches in past years, because he knew it was going to be followed by kind of a bummer of a piece of information and there's no doubt this is a bummer. >> how do you sparkle when you know there's kind of a bummer coming down the pipeline. >> you don't want to set up -- tactically you might do that on purpose. you don't want to set up too much of a contrast between
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soaring rhetoric and having this crash down on your head the next morning. >> i think ordinary people, the vast majority of people, 96,000, 134,000, the jobs number on that level doesn't matter, is not a gigantic piece of bad news. obviously it could be higher. i think for the jobs thing, what we have to look at in terms of its political effect is, is that indicative of the fact as it is of this still very slow recovery, and it's a metric. it by itself is not an important piece of news. the fact that it's 96 as opposed to 196 is not going to give romney/ryan two points over obama. >> yeah, i would say, look, knowing that those numbers were going to come out, maybe they affected the speech somehow but the general consensus was that the president couldn't really do some sort of soaring oratory, this had to be closer to the ground, it had to be more realistic -- >> he's the president, as he said. i am the president. by the way, as i was telling
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heather before, i turned off my twitter feed and the television as soon as the speech was over. i'm happy to discover today that my version of the speech was precisely the john heilemann conventional wisdom so i am in the tank -- >> brothers from another mother. >> it was workmanlike, as it probably should have been, short of announcing some bold new vision which in this playing for safety and conservativetism is probably the way to go. >> the president did mention calling for one million manufacturing jobs by 2016, 600,000 natural gas jobs, cutting oil imports, double down on the energy thing, went so far as to say global -- climate change is not a hoax which brought the room to its feet. what did you make of the speech in terms of the specifics? >> i thought there were exactly as many specifics as there needed to be about the future.
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i thought he did a good job of saying where we could be in four more years in terms of the type of country that we want to live in. i thought one of the strongest parts of the speech where he really defended some of the hard choices that he had to make, whether it was the auto bridge loan or whether it was, you know, the wall street reform that was a really hard-fought battle and that is still being attacked by the conservatives, he really said these were hard choices, i had to make them because i'm the president and i can't just do what is easy. i thought that was very strong. >> john, i want to ask you, mitt romney had a response to the president just a few moments ago. let's play the sound, his assessment of president obama's address last night. >> there was nothing in the speech that gives confidence that the president knows what he's doing when it comes to jobs and the economy. as a matter of fact, he hardly even mentioned jobs or the economy. and no new plan. no new ideas, no new here's how we're going to get the economy going, here are the specifics of what it takes to get this -- nothing there.
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>> we keep hoping that there will be some sort of inflection point in this race but it really does look like this is going to be each side getting into the trenches and going at each other on much the same battle lines that they have been on for the last several months. >> yeah, i think that's true. i'll take one issue with one thing heather said and then make a couple other comments. one is that what was really -- it was very striking that he did not do something that bill clinton did in great detail which is he didn't defend his two signature domestic achievements. didn't say anything about health care, didn't say anything about the stimulus. he talked about things that were obviously very successful and popular like it was a tough choice to decide to extend the auto bridge loans but that worked out really well and is very popular across the country. the stimulus is not that popular, health care is not that popular and he could have made a much more robust defense of those two policies as bill clinton did for him. >> well, to your point, i think a lot of people, the assessment was clinton did that and he did not have to do that. >> well, i think clinton did that, i do think there is a
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difference when a president does it, when a surrogate does it. i think the question, you know, ezra klein was writing last night that it was striking to him as a liberal policy commentator that there wasn't any real piece of the speech about the jobs crisis, whether there was going to be some big new bold plan or not, but the president really didn't dwell on that that much. i think romney was able to key off on that to some extent. i think what you really saw in the speech more than anything was a very cautious speech, a very safe speech, which reflects a really deep bedrock confidence. i don't know if it's a warranted confidence but there's still a very deep confidence on the part of team obama that if the race -- if we had an election today, if we had an election today i would probably be napping, but if there was an election today, barack obama would win. and they don't think -- they think that static is a winning hand for them. so they don't feel the need to do anything bold. they don't feel the need to take a lot of big chances. again, i don't know if they're right about that. the romney people don't think that. but i think there was an inherently very conservative, in terms of political strategy, it was a very conservative speech.
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>> eamon, i want to go to you one last time before we go to break. we know there are two more jobs numbers due out before the election. your assessment on how much those are going to affect, directly affect the race in november? >> i don't think the number as the number really affects the race. i think it's how people feel it in their gut. if your brother-in-law is still unemployed, it still feels like a terrible recession to you. when people you know start getting jobs it starts to feel like things are turning around. but i got to tell you, i'm struck to the degree to which all these data points come out and both sides just kind of process them as almost pre-spun. you could have written the press releases that came out this morning after the jobs report in advance, not knowing what the number was at all, and i think the entire voting public is almost doing that to some extent. they're pre-spinning this stuff, digesting it based on their world view, and that's part of why we're not seeing the numbers move. it's 46, 47, very tight race, and very static because no matter what the new facts are, people digest them the way they
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want to, and that's part of the new reality in politics. very strange moment in american politics right now. >> thank you to eamon javers, the keeper of the national economic mood ring. always great to see you, sir. after the break, teamwork. vice president joe biden brings his brand of populism to the dnc. michigan's governor drives home a powerful message against romney. and john lewis delivers a message on civil rights and voter fraud. the best of the rest from last night is next. [ female announcer ] want to spend less and retire with more? then don't get nickle and dimed by high cost investments and annoying account fees. at e-trade, our free easy-to-use online tools and experienced retirement specialists can help you build a personalized plan. and with our no annual fee iras and a wide range of low cost investments, you can execute the plan you want at a low cost.
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what i found fascinating, the most fascinating thing i
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found last week was when governor romney said that as president, he would take a jobs tour. well, with his support for outsourcing, it's going to have to be a foreign trip. >> that was vice president joe biden last night, boiling down the election as a choice between two vastly different sets of values. those who want to protect the american worker and those who pledge allegiance to profitability, painting governor romney as a transactional businessman, ill-fit for the office of vice president. the veep took particular efforts to highlight romney's resume. >> i think he saw it the bain way. i mean this sincerely. i think he saw it in terms of balance sheets and write-offs. folks, the bain way may bring your firm the highest profits but it's not the way to lead our country from the highest office. >> democrats see the auto bailout as a pivotal moment in protecting an integral part of the american dna as well as their re-election chances. former michigan governor
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jennifer granholm brought the crowd to their feet with what was most certainly the most animated speech of the three-day party which of course did not suffer from lack of enthusiasm. >> mitt romney loves our lakes and our trees. he loves our cars so much, they even have their own elevator. but the people who design and build and sell those cars, well, in romney's world, the cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft. >> vamping. john heilemann, you have a masterful cover story in "new york" magazine this week out on joe biden. i guess i wonder what you made of his performance last night. we talk about the president having big shoes to fill but actually, biden had to compete with the shadow of clinton which certainly loomed large in many ways, overshadowed everybody else there. in terms of being an effective surrogate specifically to those blue collar white working class voters that the president knows he needs to win over, how do you
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think he did? >> i thought he did great. but then i generally think joe biden does everything great. last night was no exception. joe biden tends to have two modes of speech, one is his inside voice and the other is his outside voice. last night he was mostly in his inside voice, kind of whispering a lot to the crowd, not doing a lot of the shout, which he sometimes does. i thought he was very effective. you know, the truth about joe biden that is i think the most important thing to know about him in the context of this campaign is that there are four guys who are running for president or vice president right now, mitt romney, paul ryan, barack obama, joe biden. there's only one of them who actually fluently speaks the language of working class populism, and that's joe biden. that's the language that actually is kind of the language that has the best currency in our moment. this is a populous moment in american politics and joe biden is the only one who understands how to talk in a natural way that comes from where he comes from, scranton, pennsylvania, son of a working class family. he comes across in a very real way. it's not just i think with the
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white working class voters, it's also with older voters. he connects in a really profound way with catholic voters of all ages, jewish voters. he's got an incredible tie with that community. there are a bunch of places that barack obama has trouble or at least is not as strong, where joe biden fits really complementary with him and he's going to be in a lot of places where the president really needs to win. he's going to be in pennsylvania, in ohio, in florida for a lot in the next two months. i think the bits and pieces of that speech you saw last night are going to be the joe biden stump speech. i think it will work real well. >> the surrogates, the attack dogs are getting dispatched. president clinton will be on the trail, too. we were talking before this segment began about the broad levels of enthusiasm. i thought what was most remarkable about the convention is this is an incumbent president. there is not necessarily, there is no need for outsizing enthusiasm around him, given the fact that the economy is still not in a great place and he's already elected. he's already in office. but there was so much love in
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that hall, having been down there in charlotte for a couple of hours, i was shocked by both the audience and the players onstage. there was so much passion that everybody brought. it was "a" game. i don't know if that convinces middle of the road voters but certainly if you talk about the optics and the stage craft and the net-net wins, the democrats came out looking incredibly strong. >> absolutely. i think that what we saw, we have to remember that barack obama was a movement leader, when he came in in 2008. we actually haven't seen a grassroots movement like the movement that came together to elect president obama. you had people changing their daily lives to go out, go places, knock on doors, talk to strangers across the country. you had this sort of elevated feeling in this country like we actually could be out of many, one and that politics was not just a spectator sport. it was a really high moment. so of course, we need to get that back as a country. we desperately need to get that
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back as a country. unfortunately, the dialogue so far in the presidential race has really been about something very, you know, market driven in terms of values. i think one of the most powerful moments that the president had was when he named the opposite of being in it for yourself, not just the common good or shared prosperity, things that democrats like to talk about, but he just named it citizenship. that was actually new. i haven't really seen people talk about it. for him to say the reason we are more than just individual profit seekers and risk takers and entrepreneurs is because we signed up for something in this country and it's called citizenship. >> i thought it was really powerful because citizenship is so tied to patriotism which has been so coopted by the right and to take it back and say this is what it means. >> it means you leave no one behind. >> it's about ask not what your country can do for you which is why somebody like david brooks, the "new york times" columnist,
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pointed to that citizenship line, too, as one of the hopeful heartening things. i found the single most surprising thing about last night was john kerry being funny. >> we actually have a clip of that. let's take a look. let's show america again. >> it isn't fair to say that mitt romney doesn't have a position on afghanistan. he has every position. talk about being for it before you were against it. mr. romney, here's a little advice. before you debate barack obama on foreign policy, you'd better finish the debate with yourself. >> to bust himself, when i saw him going in the oh, really, flip-flopper, dude, i don't think so. he just set himself up. really, john kerry being self-deprecatingly amusing was a revelation to me. >> i have to ask, john, what you made of jennifer granholm's yosemite style speech where some
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people likened it to oprah. you get a car, you get a car, you get a car. certainly very, very enthusiastic. >> she was fired up and ready to go. there's no doubt about it. governor granholm is a great woman. she had a really hard time as governor of michigan because her economy was such a wreck that there was almost nothing she could do. she's now found a pretty comfortable home as a television host but i will say there are a lot of people very excited about her after last night. the hall loved her. i don't know how well she came across on tv because i saw her in person but the hall loved her and you heard a lot of people go wow, jennifer granholm could run for president one day, maybe she could be vice president one day, and the most important thing to know about jennifer granholm, none of those are possible because she is in fact a canadian citizen. >> if your hopes are dashed, well, your hopes are dashed. thank you to john heilemann -- >> i'm the master of trivia out here. just like joe biden's middle name is robin. >> that is a choice piece of trivia. thank you for sharing that.
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that cover story which mentioned very specifically that we have a president and vice president with those names at 1600 pennsylvania avenue is on stands now. thanks, john. coming up, now that we have tackled the substance, it's time to dig into the delivery. we will examine oratory style and conviction on display at the democratic national convention. james lipton is standing by in the green room with his expert take. he will join us again live inside our studio ahead. [ male announcer ] you know that guy who sells those remote control helicopters at the mall. buy 'em or don't. whatever man. either way, he gets to fly helicopters all day. i'm talking da vinci style flying machines! he's datin' kayla, the lotion girl. able, bodied, athleticism. here's his buddy marko, who's got the hot water for his velveeta shells & cheese. achieve your dreams. liquid gold! eat like that guy you know.
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coming up, president obama's act two. hard to forget his 2008 denver speech but will the president's performance last night have a lasting impact? we go back inside the campaign studio after the break. ow you c. scroll... tap... pinch... and zoom... in your car. introducing the all-new cadillac xts with cue.
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times have changed and so have i. i'm no longer just a candidate. i'm the president.
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while i'm very proud of what we've achieved together, i'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what lincoln meant when he said i have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that i had no place else to go. >> that was an unusually candid self-assessment by a politician and especially a president, admitting fault publicly and unflinchingly. president obama's speech surprised supporters and pundits in its tone and style but it may be indicative of his evolution as a leader. "new york" magazine's jonathan chait writes very much like an ied olist who enlisted in war and has now seen its ugliness, obama approaches his job with more depth, less hope and more determination to see it through. joining us now, james lipton. thank you for joining us again. >> thank you for inviting me back. >> it is a hard thing, a sequel.
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president obama had to not only i think give us an answer to his 2008 convention speech but of course, the looming shadow of his 2004 convention speech when he first entered the national stage. given the task that was on his shoulders, how do you think he did last night? >> i think he did very well. what's the expression, politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose. i thought the speech last night was more prose than poetry but perhaps it needed that. perhaps the times needed that. it was rather businesslike and it wasn't until he got halfway into it that he became i thought personally involved in a way that was finally very effective. >> one of the things, when we talk about as jonathan chait writes, it's sort of the maturing of an american president. certainly he was criticized, the hopey stuff, as being naive. i wonder, throughout the evening he went back to that team of
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hope and i thought it had so much more weight. it was a conscious decision to say i'm not giving up on this idea but it is different now than it was before. >> look, i disagree that hope and change was naive. hope and change was precisely what it was. what we didn't anticipate, what he didn't anticipate, was that there were people waiting for him who said no, no hope, no change, we're waiting four years until we can change the presidency. i don't fault him for that. i think that his hope and change theme was valid. >> i'm one of the people that also thought the hope and change theme was valid, but insofar as it became sort of a talking point in conservative circles. one of the other things i want to point out as far as what happened last night and one of the through lines of the convention is this notion of family, and the dynamic really specifically between husbands and wives. you saw that with dr. jill biden and the vice president, he was calling her jilly onstage, he
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made a point of saying you're the love of my life, the life of my love, and then of course the relationship between president obama and the first lady. she, if there were big shoes to fill, in fact, i think they may have been hers. she gave an incredible speech, i thought, on tuesday. i wonder how you thought together, taken together, the first lady and the president, how those two speeches complemented one another. >> i think the first lady and the president and their two children are one of the finest families we have ever had in the white house. i thought that when they walked into the white house for the first time and that night, i remembered thing to myself that white house was built in large part by slaves and here they come. i remember on the night of the inauguration when they were watching the parade, the children left and they explained the reason they left was because they were going to be out all night at the balls and therefore, they had arranged a whole evening with the children at home in which they invited their school friends into the house and it became their house. i think they are an ideal american family, perhaps one of the two or three best we have ever had in the white house.
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>> that scene at the end that we just showed when michelle obama and malia and sasha strode onstage reminded me of grant park on election night, when it sort of dawned on us this is our first family. >> when they were together on the stage for a moment, they were there for quite a long time, i don't know whether you noticed it as i did, the way they looked at each other, the way they talked to each other, quietly, we couldn't hear what they were saying but there was something going on between them, it was genuine and i thought was very, very telling. >> i actually managed to end up backstage in the 2008 convention right after the confetti and balloons were falling, they came back to the backstage and i managed to end up backstage and i saw the soon-to-be first lady at that time and as well, that was the first moment in 2008 when i saw that african-american family walking forward, you know, absolutely broke out in tears and i was able to shake her hand and say it means so
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much to me and to my family to see your family represented as the american family. you really can't describe the impact, the sort of emotional impact that that has, particularly on african-americans, to have come this far. >> i also think, however, i shared that not to the extent that you can, certainly, but four years later, i think people see this incredibly like perfect stage managed authentic family onstage, and don't say oh, yeah, wow, black first family. i think the fact that they're just this ideal beautiful charming, talking to each other family has sort of eclipsed, not that we don't see color, but four years later it's different. >> michelle obama's speech is being evaluated as the first african-american first lady giving her husband's introductory speech at a convention but just the first lady's speech -- >> we can't say enough about
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just her performance abilities. what was incredible to me, it was as if there were no teleprompters there. she was incredible. >> one word, authentic. authentic. i would like to say something about you mentioned the language that biden used on the stage. kiddo, kiddo, he called her. honey. >> jilly. >> he not only spoke to the average american, he obviously is the average american and at the darkest political times in my life, when i really felt despairing of america, of the people, of myself, of all of us, i remember something that was said by franklin p. adams, the columnist and humorist who wrote in the 1930s. he said something that i have kept as a mantra and that is the average american is above average, and whenever i'm at my darkest moment, i recall that, and i think that it is absolutely true, and that biden is a reminder of it.
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he is above average. the american people are above average and they are average americans. >> i think that we haven't talked about bill clinton yet, but he's someone who certainly believes the average american is above average insofar as he went into a 50-minute policy speech and -- until 11:13, said let's talk about the debt. this is someone that believes there's an appetite out there, there's an intellectual appetite in the american public. >> you know what's authentic about clinton, clinton is a political being. i have only met him once or twice. on a few occasions in my life i was with teddy kennedy. he was a political being. when he is being authentic, he's being political. i remember i didn't understand half of what he said to me once in a long conversation, he was talking about the ills in congress, and i thought to myself concentrate, jim, concentrate. he was just talking politics and with such fervor as if he were talking about marilyn monroe. there is a passion in certain people for politics.
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teddy kennedy had that. clinton has that. i think that in time, the president of the united states, barack obama, is acquiring it as well. there was at the end of his speech where he began to warm, to warm to it. there was a kind of passion that built and i thought that's the direction he has to go. that will be his authenticity. >> i agree with you. there was a lot of talk of it being a workmanlike speech but it ended with a huge lift. we will talk more about the performances on display at the dnc last week on "now." james lipton gave us his assessment of governor romney's big speech at the rnc. >> i would say that he has certainly improved, without question. he was more confident. he was more assertive. he was more relaxed. and let us now ask why. he was preaching to the converted. he was, as we say, preaching to the choir. >> will any of the convention performances inform campaign
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dynamics and the race towards november? we will have more with james lipton, next. this country was built by working people. the economy needs manufacturing. machines, tools, people making stuff.
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it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. so here's another jobs score. president obama, plus four and a half million. congressional republicans, zero. >> i want to take zero and make it a ring tone. i feel like nobody does it like bill clinton. we were talking in the break, bill clinton as mr. lipton was saying, a master orator, a real authentic, an authenticity that few have. he's also, as you said, he can ad lib and bring the noise just off the top of his head. >> there was a version of that speech handed out and to compare
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it to how he delivered it, it's amazing that in the moment, maybe he had these things in his head but it's an extraordinary thing he does. the other thing in terms of his authenticity that james was talking about, he knows all those numbers. if you have ever seen him extemporaneously answering questions, he has the most incredible ability to point to this number and that number, so it's not as though somebody needs to write those as talking points for him. they're swirling around in his head along with his marilyn monroe passion. >> in fact, i've been thinking of late, i have seen him speak a few times, he's almost getting obsessed, almost getting obsessed with statistics. he actually is like packing his sentences with actually i think, as a policy wonk, a little too much in terms of numbers. i know you know what the energy output for domestic eia numbers were last week, you don't have to say them all the time. >> but we talk about the attack dogs and bill clinton and joe
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biden are in some ways being dispatched to the same group of the american electorate and the thing about bill clinton, to your point, kurt, is he has that passion but also has the numbers. biden has proven himself less adept as explaining. i thought clinton's point by point take-down of the falsities that have been put out by the republicans was incredibly effective. that is something i don't see joe biden doing as well and we of course have the paul ryan/joe biden debate coming up which will be a huge proving ground. james, i wonder in terms of bill clinton, how does the administration best use him apart from dispatching him out to florida and so forth? are there marching orders they should give him in terms of things to focus on? >> how to use him best. four words. as much as possible. the guy is a political person and you're right, i agree with you absolutely. he possesses the numbers, he possesses -- it's underneath his skin, waiting to bubble out, and people like him. they like him because they know he means it. politicians, a lot of terrible
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people can mean it. hitler meant it. stalin meant it. on the other hand, franklin d. roosevelt and john f. kennedy meant it. just meaning it isn't enough. but there is a kind of ardor, a kind of passion that emerges from deep inside. we teach students to find themselves inside, to access themselves and then at the proper moment onstage, to let it emerge and it emerges genuinely. that's when we believe them. that's when we understand them and we understand the character. that's what an actor does, when an actor is acting well. you talk about performance. these people don't have to act. they don't have to perform. what they have to do is be able to reach inside and produce something which is authentic, which is genuine and which is deeply felt and deeply meant. then you come close to something called the truth. >> not to be a buzz kill, but of course in his past as the president, that's why bill clinton even when he was fibbing or worse, he seemed to believe it at the time, which was why he
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was such a supreme -- >> but he didn't get away with it. that was bad performance. that was him at his worst. when he's talking politics, he is able to summon something which is absolutely true for him and absolutely authentic, and that's what the public responds to. i think they respond to obama. now, the reason they like him, if he's saying terrible things, you're not going to like him, but the reason the public likes obama is because i think although there is a barrier between him and his outer self, there's no question about it, he is a more guarded person, certainly, than clinton, but nevertheless, i think people believe that he believes what he is saying and therefore, they believe him. i think that is a great advantage in a politician. >> especially when he's paired up with mitt romney, for whom almost the opposite is true. >> with romney you have the feeling always that there is a lot he's not telling you and that has become typical of his campaign. not just his tax returns.
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but in so many ways, there's a lot at any given moment that he's not saying, he's not telling you. nothing against him. his politics may be perfect. i'm not here to discuss politics particularly, but there is something about the man that is without question, extremely private and a worse word, secret. that's his problem. >> is that why he comes across as such a "b" actor? >> i say a "c" actor. >> we grew up seeing that guy playing bosses and presidents and fathers. >> ronald reagan was a "b" actor but reagan, when he became president, learned how to absolutely convey to the public precisely who he was and what he felt and what he believed. and he succeeded for that reason. romney has a long way to go to do that. he may do it. he may succeed.he's got two mon. >> it's his difficulty. he is removed from us and for reasons, but reasons that we just don't know.
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>> he needs a master class, james lipton. >> nobody needs a master class with james lipton. >> thank you for your time, expertise and thoughts, as always. catch james lipton on "inside the actor's studio" which is up for its 15th emmy nomination. it returns to bravo on october 2nd at 7:00 p.m. eastern. james lipton, thank you for joining us. coming up, the password is economy. also, government and women. those were more than just some of the themes at this week's dnc. we will play a little super password next. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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welcome back. time for "what now." the "new york times" has a new word cloud that breaks down the most popular words of the conventions and how often speakers in both parties used them. the word "economy" was mentioned
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53 times for every 25,000 words. but it was only used 41 times by republicans. in comparison, "government" was said 66 times by republicans but only 13 times by democrats. some of these i think are sort of baked in. like you expect, heather, the republicans are going to be talking about government because that's their favorite whipping post of late. i found it interesting that democrats use the word "jobs" more than republicans, 88 to the republicans' 80 times. probably the best piece of info, the democrats mentioned romney 92 times, republicans mentioned him 109 times. not a huge difference and you would think at the nominating convention they would be talking about romney a little more. >> i remember reading that chris christie didn't mention the nominee for quite a bit, maybe 15 minutes in his speech. it's very clear that the level of enthusiasm for the actual candidate is a lot lower on the republican side than the democratic side. i think it's really interesting,
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this morning actually romney accused the president of not talking about the economy or jobs at all which i thought was strange. i was wondering if we had seen the same speech but it is important that the incumbent party that has had to clean up the mess of a disastrous financial crisis actually led with the economy and jobs. >> i would also say, i think one of the most powerful take-aways from this week is that the democrats really made a forceful argument for the american social compact and the role of government, and tried to take back the notion of what government actually means. >> and became, i mean, as we heard, democrats shouting usa, usa at the discussion of military action. whoa. if i had been rip van winkle in 1975 and woke up, i would go what happened here, as i would be if i were a republican in 1975 and woke up and saw their party. their convention as well. no, i think they have really -- it's no longer a piece of political fakery when that happens at this convention, which is the change that has happened in the democratic party. >> that's part of it. that's sort of the obvious
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conclusion of the fierce anti-government sentiment. you're saying you are anti the united states government and you're saying you're anti the united states to a certain degree. it's pushed the democrats to saying no, we care about the american project. >> the true conservative party, the democrats. >> citizenship. citizenship. we actually have to go hear the president speak right now. he may update us on his thoughts about the jobs numbers or not. let's take a listen. >> one of the best senators in the country, senator shaheen. your mayor, eric spear. and your next congresswoman, carol shea porter and annie custler. it is good to see all of you. it's just great to be back in portsmouth. i was telling john that -- i
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love you back. i was telling john that i will always have great memories of portsmouth because one of the things that happens as you're running for president is the bubble starts closing in on you, so i still remember some of the last places where i got to take a walk with nobody around, and portsmouth in 2007 was one of those places. it was a gorgeous day like today and i actually, we walked and we came right down here, and there was a theater, an improv thing going on, and i sat there and i think i might have bought some ice cream, which reminds me, by the way, malia and sasha love new hampshire not only because this is where they go to camp, but it's also where they first campaigned with us and i think the first day of campaigning, they got ice cream four times in a row.
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so they turned to michelle and me and say we love this campaigning thing. we want to campaign with you all the time. now, i have just come from charlotte, where we had a great convention. folks down there could not have been more welcoming. michelle was amazing. president clinton made the case in the way only he can. somebody e-mailed me after his speech and said you need to appoint him secretary of explaining stuff. that's pretty good.
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i like that. secretary of explaining stuff. 'splaining. joe biden was fired up. and i meant what i said at the convention. i could not have a better vice president, but as importantly, i could not ask for a better and more loyal friend than joe biden. he is a wonderful, wonderful man. and last night, i did my best to lay out the stakes in this election. you see, now that both sides have made their argument, there's a big choice to make. and i honestly believe this is the biggest choice, the clearest choice of any time in our generation, because it's not just a choice between two candidates or two political pa